NEW Warriors coach Zdravko Logarusic says his top priority will be to bring smiles to the faces of long-suffering Zimbabweans by ensuring the team performs well on the pitch.
Speaking at his official unveiling in the capital yesterday, the 55-year-old Croat said he understands that the morale of most Zimbabweans is at its lowest ebb due to the decaying political and economic situation in the country.
However, he believes football has the power to unite Zimbabweans and help them forget the prevailing social and economic struggles.
“Zimbabwean people; they are suffering a lot; economic crisis, political crisis and family crisis,” Logarusic, who was given a two-year contract, told reporters yesterday.
“Not much money, shortage of water, shortage of money and let’s try to put a smile on their face. Our job is to try and make them happy in some way.
“It’s not easy to live in Zimbabwe right now. It’s not easy because what I’m following, I’m seeing it’s not easy…but let’s try to make them happy in some way; they like football.”
Logarusic, who will be assisted by Joey Antipas, Lloyd Chitembwe and Tonderai Ndiraya, emphasised on the need for the entire nation to pull together in one direction.
His first assignment will be the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group H back-to-back qualifiers against reigning champions Algeria next month.
The Chan finals to be held in Cameroon will follow thereafter in April before the Afcon qualifiers resume in August and September.
The Warriors will finish the year by engaging in two Group G qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
“I know I can’t do it by myself so the job that I want to do I need proper support from everyone; my technical staff, players, federation, journalists and the fans,” Logarusic said.
“If we work together, we can do it, but if we start to go separately, we will not do it. Without proper support from everyone, it’s difficult.
“We must create something that can give us results. I’m happy for this opportunity and I will not disappoint you but also don’t disappoint me.”
The Croat would have loved to bring in his own assistants but acknowledged the advantage of working with a backroom staff made up of local coaches.
Logarusic defended his nomadic nature after having worked all over the continent at Ghanaian clubs Asante Kotoko, King Faisal Babes and Ashanti Gold as well as Angola’s Interclube.
He also had stints with Kenyan clubs Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as well as a spell in Tanzania at Simba.
Logarusic’s last job before joining the Warriors was with Sudan and it came to an end when his contract expired last December.
“To make success in Africa, you have to respect African people, you have to respect African culture, you have to respect their way of living, you have to respect how they are suffering in their lives, give them respect and you can work with them,” he said.